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Simone Biles named Time magazine's 2021 Athlete of the Year

The most accomplished gymnast of all time, Simone Biles shined this year as an advocate for mental health and sexual abuse survivors.
Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Simone Biles arrives at the 2021 InStyle Awards at The Getty Center on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

HOUSTON — Simone Biles has claimed another prestigious title, further building her legacy as one of the most accomplished and socially conscious athletes of her era.

Time magazine announced Thursday the Olympic-winning gymnast and Houston native is its 2021 Athlete of the Year.

At age 24, Biles has become a light in the world through her contributions as an athlete, an advocate for mental wellness and a voice for victims of sexual abuse. 

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Biles is credited with the creation of four new gymnastic skills. She is a role model for upcoming generations of professional gymnasts as the most decorated athlete in the history of the sport. Recognized for her powerful and gravity-defying movements, she has redefined our expectation of what's possible.

However, it has been moments of courageous vulnerability that have catapulted Biles into the spotlight in this year.

Her decision to back out of all but one competition at the Tokyo Olympics became an international discussion about mental health, sports culture and the exploitation of athletes.

Shortly after, Biles went before Congress along with four of her USA Gymnastics teammates and gave a compelling testimony that federal law enforcement and gymnastics officials ignored team doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of her and hundreds of other women.

The women spoke in stark emotional terms about the lasting toll Nassar’s crimes have taken on their lives.

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